Missouri City businesses still recovering after crippling tornado
On Aug. 24, the day before Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, Dr. Rachel Foreman sent her employees home early and told them to get prepared. She had a bad feeling about this storm.
The next day, a tornado spawned by the hurricane ripped through parts of Missouri City - pulling roofs off of houses, dislodging window panes from the Wells Fargo office building on Texas Parkway, yanking the outer wall off of a Wing Stop restaurant and impacting dozens of homes and businesses.
Foreman’s dental practice, Dentistry at Artysan Lane, in a strip center on Texas Parkway was one of the tornado’s casualties. The tornado had blown a hole in the roof and destroyed one of the windows, allowing rain water to pour into the building.
In the days after the tornado, Foreman and 10 family members and friends had to work to clean up the damage without electricity, using headlamps and flashlights to see.
“The recovery effort has been stressful,” Foreman said. “It’s traumatizing.”
Missouri City estimates that 50 business sustained damage during Hurricane Harvey. Several of those were in the path of the tornado that cut along the Texas Parkway corridor. Between residential and commercial damage, the city expects the hurricane damages to total $8-10 million.
The multi-story Wells Fargo office building, just across the parking lot from Foreman’s practice, was among the hardest hit. Crews are working to dry, clean up and repair the building, but work could take several months. In the meantime, tenants of the office building, including a number of state and federal elected representatives that have local offices there, have been forced to relocate.
Not far away, the City Home Furniture store was gutted. Severe damage to the roof caused rainwater to pour into the building. More than two weeks after the tornado, the store sat empty except for some stray debris, purged of its soaked wares.
The blow from the tornado damage is especially challenging for small business owners like Foreman. Not only did she incur the costs of the damages to her building, but she has to make up for three weeks of lost business.
Although she has business insurance, Foreman has found it difficult to work with the company. An agent that inspected the office on Labor Day only reported that a ceiling tile was damaged.
“They left a lot of things out of the report,” Foreman said. She estimates the storm has cost her thousands of dollars so far, and that doesn’t account for loss of business while the office was closed.
Foreman was finally able to open for business again last Monday and is planning to work extended hours and Saturdays in order to make up for the appointments and operations she missed due to the storm damage.
It wasn’t how she had pictured starting out the second year running her own practice. After working with associates at other dental offices, Foreman had finally opened her own practice last summer. Now, just starting her second year as her own boss, she has to shoulder the storm’s impact on her and her employees.
As devastating as it’s been, Foreman is determined to be positive and continue putting her all into her practice.
“We’re going to be pushing forward. That’s the only mindset that I can have,” she said. “We’re just going to hustle.”